Monday, January 21, 2013
Whew. That's how the cram packed insistently demanding days of January have left me - slightly wiped out. Thank goodness for this 3 day weekend, coming after all the January deadlines, to rest up and get my groove back.
The past 3 weeks have held deadlines, introductions, trips and guests - all great opportunities to shove my New Years Resolutions to the back burner - not where they'd be forgotten, but where they could simmer gently till I was ready fo serve them up. Of course the operative word in New Year's Resolutions is NEW and since they're new I'm not sure they're quite ready to lay out in print, but if I don't do this now - I may not do it at all and I know for sure if I don't write them down I will feel bad all year. So. Here Goes.
First off - the recap of 2012 and it's 12 new habits. I loved doing these. I loved them so much I was tempted to say I will just do the same 12 in 12 in 13 and leave it at that. In fact - I will do that - with some tweaks and modifications. Those habits centered around 4 core areas of my life:
1. MY PHYSICAL LIFE (food tracking, exercise and water)
I'm very pleased with the end results. These three actions are at least enough of a habit to make me uncomfortable when I don't do them. I intend to keep on concentrating on these good ways of living my life. And though I am not at my goal, I did lose 10 lbs last year and kept it off. I started lifting weights and am twice as strong now as I was a year ago. And in a whole year I did not once talk myself out of going to the gym!
2. MY WORK LIFE ( Charles Schwab list, 5-year plan, BigWorkGoals, Compliment Staff)
I'm pleased - though not as pleased - with how I incorporated these into my life. I realize that reading the 5 year plan daily is excessive and but I will do it twice a week and see that my staff does too. The Big Work Goal and the attention to my staff are not yet habits but they're on my horizon. The Charles Schwab list is an absolute essential and the only month when I drifted away from it was the crumbiest month of the year. Won't do that again. Love me that CSL!!
3. MY HOME ENVIRONMENT (Clean the kitchen every night)
I started right off the bat and found it made ALL the difference in the whole rest of the house. Those few minutes of tidying up before going to bed gave me time to think about the rest of the house and what I'd like from it and for it. It prompted me to push for - and actually get - the bathroom renovation we so needed. It got me to get the rug doctor in to clean the rugs, and it lead me to initiate the difficult discussion with Himself about the addition to the house that we MUST have before I retire and before he gets to old to oversee it. Who knew a clean kitchen would do all that.
4, MY SPIRITUAL LIFE (Pray, Draw, Read, BigLifeGoals)
Yup yup yup. Prayed and found such expansion in it. Drew and got lots better. Didn't read as much as I thought I would ... didn't want to read as much as I thought I would - what a surprise. And found that some steps towards my BigLifeGoals were seeping into my days, my life, my very soul, just by opening up and letting them in! Got the bathroom redone, took the beach vacation with my sister, revisited old places I loved, explored new ones I uncovered.
I'd say the 12 in 12 were the most interesting and fun New Year's Resolutions I've ever made and ever kept. They were so much fun that, as I said, I want to keep on doing them. But they are neither new nor resolutions so ... what's on tap for 2013?
Ahh. It's much more ephemeral. Much harder to describe - to put into words - one reason I've been so long spitting it out. I'm not sure I can even now - but I am going to try. If I come off as maudlin or blasphemous or just plain weird - so be it.
There is a power - a flow, a source, an energy - so vivid, so exciting and so magical that it can take you anywhere in a twinkling. I call it God. I do not subscribe to a particular religion but I am absolutely positively certain that God exists and God is the way. God is the source. God is the power, the energy, the flow. God is the love. This is not a faith thing. This is a knowledge thing.
Nothing keeps me from this power except my own laziness, sloth, and ego. I can tap into the magical flow anytime I want to but I have to do the actual tapping. For 2013 I want to tap into that flow - every day.
I could say I want to pray every day - but prayer can so easily turn into a Christmas Wish List. "Please God, make me thin. Please, God, help me keep my tempter" That sort of thing. Instead, I just want to tap into the flow and let it take me wherever it wants to go. I'll admit it. I'd also like to use it now and then for my own egotistical purposes, but mostly - I just want to open up. Let it in. Participate in it's exciting energy.
Unlike my 12 in 12 - I won't have daily or weekly or monthly reports about concrete accomplishments. What I hope I'll have will be insights, revelations, ah-ha moments - some of which might be worth sharing. But that's not the point of this effort. The point is to live each day more within the flow of ... of God.
As for concrete accomplishments achieved in 2013 - there will be 4 of them.
1. Reach goal weight by March - and stay there the rest of the year
2. Do something every month about my kitchen so that it is more functional
3. Carve a space for myself out of the Junk/Packing/Guest Room upstairs - before May
4. Discuss with Himself - every month - the addition to the house so that it doesn't drift into the realm of pipe dreams
So. This is a different sort of set of New Years Resolutions. In fact, the big thing is more of a New Years Revolultion. But there it is - spit out in all its ungainly description.
I sure do love a New Year.
Monday, December 31, 2012
I'm so impressed with Chicchantal's fabulous walks about England - (sigh here - Oh to be in England)
I'd love to share my own rambles across the countryside. Alas. my computer is old My internet is slow. It would take me weeks to load all the photos on my latest Sunday Stroll - the last of 2012. But it was a very pretty walk and if you would like to stroll along with me - click on the link below.
Another deeply inspiring spark blogger is Pixie-Licious who has totally focused on choosing each healthy day one at a time.
I've had a fabulous time with my 12 in 12 habits but I'm ready for something different this year and somehow I plan to incorporate her "One Healthy Day at a Time" philosophy into my 2013 plans. I'll be back in a few days to tell you all about them!
In the mean time - Happy New Year to you all!
Friday, December 21, 2012
Time was when I was taking a fitness class, and the teacher would say "get your hand weights", and I'd see those girls pick up 8 pound weights, I'd think, "Humph. Show-offs. ". Then I'd go pick up safe 'n' secure 3 lb weights or if I was feeling really moxie, I'd get the big blue 5 pounders.
Fast forward to late winter 2012 and I decide that it's time to do something about my saggy belly. It was so weak it was beginning to hang on my spine, making that hurt. I remembered enjoying doing weight training a decade earlier, working with a personal trainer. Unfortunately, that PT had retired and I wasn't quite sure I wanted to work with the male trainer at my gym - a retired firefighter with huge muscles.
But I asked for some help and he walked me through some really good core exercises that took delicate care of my crooked spine with those two spots where discs want to bulge between the vertebrae. After that I felt enough trust to ask for help with a little muscle firming work.
I plunked down the $ for 10 lessons and started, in the springtime, hefting those 5 pound weights in flys and bench presses, tricep lifts and shoulder shrugs. Each week, Wayne-the-Personal Trainer pushed me harder. By June I was easily using 12 pound dumbbells to perform those same moves and in the fall I was lifting 15 pounders ... 2 of them!
But that's a lot of weight and I have lots of crooked stuff in my body - and conventions and out of town meetings and Holidays and oh, just a slew of other things interfered with my training sessions. Not that I missed going to the gym - or doing strength training - but I couldn't always schedule something with W-the-PT. When I'm exercising on my own, it's a little hard to push myself to the edge. Not alone. I talked about this with W-the-PT though and mentioned that I had never ever thought I'd lift 15 lb weights. "Oh you'll be lifting 20 pounds before you know it" he assured me. "If I had you twice a week you'd be lifting 25 lbs."
Something about his belief in me has tickled my brain ever since he said that and yesterday, as I settled in to do some reclining chest presses, I looked over at those 20 pound weights, They look so big - even though they're actually the smallest free weights on what I think of as the Guy's Rack.
Still - I thought I'd just pick them up and ... you know ... see. And then I thought I'd just give them a try. I promised myself I'd stop if there was any hint of pain or strain but as I lay back and put myself in position I knew I could lift these babies. I like to make my movements very slow and measured because I want to be sure I don't ever hurt myself and as I pushed against those hunks of metal I could tell I was using proper form: Core engaged. Neck relaxed. Arms aligned. I began to push.
They were heavy - but not a single fiber in my body complained. AT least, nothing complained except my biceps at the 9th press. "No more than 10" they insisted and I complied. After that first set I scaled back to the 15's but still I did it! I pressed 40 lbs for 10 reps and for the rest of the day I was walking on a cloud. Today I can't even tell I pushed myself beyond a normal Thursday session.
I have had many targets I wanted to hit this year - I've succeeded with some - not quite made it with others - but this one - lifting 40 pounds - wasn't even something I dreamed of doing. It was just the next step in the direction I was going - but boy is it a big one for me. I'm so excited to see what I can do next! Maybe - juggling tires?
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
LOL Dawn, picking a favorite book is a lot like picking a favorite child - I love so many.
Limiting myself to books written for adults, the book I've read the most - which one might say is my favorite - is Pride and Prejudice. I came to it as an adult, so I already knew what it was to be at a cocktail party with a bunch of affected, nervous people putting on a false front. (mind now, not that everyone at cocktail parties does that - but you get the picture). The cleverness with which Jane Austen pricks out each person's weaknesses absolutely sent me over the edge in laughter. Darcy's proposal is a classic piece of hilarity.
And at the same time, I completely understand how a perfectly rational intelligent person can open her mouth and watch black bats and squiggly worms squirm out! I've DONE it!
Since I have read P&P maybe ... what? 40 times? I'd have to claim that as my favorite
then I think about other books I adore ... like
The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi - where the priest prays just the same way I do and gets the same sort of answers I get
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - where the essential dilemma of How Do You Choose Between Your Head and Your Heart is worked out to my own complete satisfaction.
Sword and the Swan by Roberta Gellis - who can take the words from the old Scottish folk song Geordie and weave it into the plot of a story. And nobody can write a battle scene as vividly as she does. I like all her novels, especially because she chooses my kind of hero.
Faro's Daughter (or pretty much anything else) by Georgette Heyer - who is the ONLY person who can write a regency romance worthy of following Jane Austen ... who was not writing historical fiction anyway - but contemporary fiction.
Shinju by Laura Rowland - a murder mystery set in the Shogun period of Japanese history but so tightly written you could set it in modern times
Portuguese Irregular Verbs by alexander McCall-Smith - the whole trilogy, actually - I am laughing now just remembering the silliness of it - how Englishmen poke fun of Germans so so funny
Life of Pi by Yann Martel - which I loved so much I will never see the movie - no matter how good it is
Ditto "Schindler's List" by Thomas Kennealy - even though I adore Liam Neeson
some books should remain in our hearts and in our heads
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett - such a perfect spy novel - so precise, with no plot flaws, perfect pacing, characters to care about - that I didn't read another of his books until he started writing about Cathedrals.
Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice - juicy and erotic but so well written you can't really classify it as erotica. The plot is as true as glass. No flaws and she gives an amazingly accurate depiction of how a classical musician is trained. her descriptions are so vivid you feel yourself in the molding damp world of 17th century Venice.
Well - that is 10 of my top 100 in no particular order and alas, I could go on and on and on forever. This started out as an answer to a question but I decided to turn it into a blog post. Happy Reading to my spark pals
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